Print 53 comment(s) - last by BWAnaheim.. on Oct 17 at 11:13 PM

The Xbox 360's toasty GPU won't get a reprieve until late 2008

For those of you hoping to get an Xbox 360 with both a 65nm CPU and GPU, your wait is going to be a bit longer. The Mercury News' Dean Takahashi first brought us news of the Falcon motherboard that houses a 65nm CPU and 90nm GPU in July. Takahashi the following month reported that Xbox 360 consoles featuring the new motherboard and revised processor would begin shipping this fall.

While Xbox 360 consoles are starting to trickle into the retail market with 65nm processors and revised cooling, a new 65nm GPU die shrink won't arrive until late 2008 according to Takahashi.

The new Xbox 360 consoles coming late next year feature both a 65nm CPU and GPU will be codenamed Jasper. This would mark nearly a three-year gap between when the Xbox 360 was first released until a solution is finally presented for what has arguably been one of the most troublesome aspects of the console's design.

Many people have reported of DVD drives damaging game discs or failed HDDs, but the overwhelming majority of Xbox 360 failures have come at the hand of the dreaded Red Ring of Death (RRoD) which often points towards an overheated GPU.

"I don’t know why it will take Microsoft essentially three years to cost reduce the size of the graphics chip through a manufacturing shrink," said Takahashi. "Microsoft has had to divert a lot of engineers to debugging problems with Xbox 360 reliability. Even so, you would think that they would have moved faster, since the move to 65-nm graphics chip will likely be one of the best things they can do to improve the reliability."

Microsoft contends, however, that the new cooling solution provided with Falcon is sufficient to provide sufficient cooling for all internal Xbox 360 components. The Falcon cooling solution may be better than on previous Xbox 360 designs, but the solution to the main heat problem is nearly a year away.

"The Falcon board will likely give off less heat," continued Takahashi. "But the real serious heat saver looks like it will come with Jasper."

Reduced thermals aren't the only benefit of the upcoming Jasper-based Xbox 360s. Switching to the 65nm CPU has allowed Microsoft to reduce manufacturing costs for the consoles and cut costs for consumers. Making the move to a 65nm GPU will cut costs even further and could lead to another round of price cuts according to Takahashi.

"If I were Microsoft, I would try to pull in the date of Jasper as soon as possible," Takahashi added. "What they need right now is a lower cost so that they can be more competitive against the Wii and so they leave no openings for Sony."

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RE: Not so sure about this
By BWAnaheim on 10/11/2007 12:38:14 PM , Rating: 2
The XBOX360 WiFi adapter includes 802.11b/g (2.4GHz) and 802.11a (5.8 GHz). I have a wireless access point that handles both A and G, and run the XBOX at 5.8 GHz. This reduces the interference potential with our 2.4 GHz phones, Bluetooth, and microwave ovens. I have seen people complain about the list price of the WiFi adapter, and I think that they overlook the fact that it is a dual-band device.

Perhaps if Microsoft released a single-band device for less money or included a single-band device in the Elite, people would complain less. However, I like being able to run at 5.8, because no other 802.11a systems are visible in my neighborhood. Sure, I would have liked a lower cost, but I also had to pay more for my access point to achieve what I thought was a more optimal wireless solution.

If I am not wrong, the WiFi adapter in the PS3 is 2.4 GHz only, which means that it would be more prone to interference.

RE: Not so sure about this
By softwiz on 10/11/2007 2:47:39 PM , Rating: 2
Why not just get a 5.8Ghz phone instead ?

RE: Not so sure about this
By 9nails on 10/11/2007 9:59:30 PM , Rating: 2
That's what I did!

But I also ran a CAT5 cable to my Xbox 360. Problem solved, and improved upon for free. (The cable was included!)

WiFi is a simplex network with too many collisions to be good for gaming. My Wii is using the WiFi, but I don't go on-line with that other than to download VC games.

RE: Not so sure about this
By BWAnaheim on 10/17/2007 11:13:32 PM , Rating: 2
I have other 2.4 GHz devices in the house, and due to the terrible layout of this KB home, where the tv needs to reside is virtually impossible to reach with a CAT-5 cable (outside wall, no basement, no accessible attic space in that area). WiFi 5.8 was the simplest solution to minimize the overall interference profile. Besides, the 2.4 GHz phones were not broken...

"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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